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How does LACERA review process work?

Pensions for disability through the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association are important for assuring that a public employee receives disability pensions when they cannot engage in their usual job duties. But it is important to understand this process and know your rights, as set forth in the LACERA step-by-step guidance document.

LACERA investigates each application even if the worker was denied workers’ compensation. It will obtain workers’ compensation and medical records, personnel records and documents from the DMV.

It will conduct a telephone interview of the applicant concerning occupational history, job duties and physical demands at work. There may be other interviews. The applicant will go to at least one of LACERA’s panel physicians.

The Board of Retirement will determine whether an employee is legally eligible for disability retirement. Applicants will receive notification of the date their case is presented to the board.

If the BOR must discuss an application, it will conduct a closed session. Applicants and their attorneys may attend the closed session but may not address the BAR. An applicant or attorney may speak to the board during the public comment period if it submits a request before its meeting.

An applicant or their attorney may request copies of the BOR packet after it acts. Some confidential medical information may be redacted. BOR will send written notification of its action and appeal rights to an applicant or their attorney.

An application may be denied if the employee’s department can make reasonable accommodation for the worker’s disability. When a disability retirement application is denied, the first responder will continue to receive their compensation if they continue working. The employee’s department must have them undergo the process for exploring options for returning to work if the employee remains in County service and is not working,

An employee has 30 days to appeal their denial or negative Board of Retirement action. It may involve a hearing or court proceeding. Appeals can take at least three years to conclude.

These issues and proceedings require important information and may be complicated. an attorney can help applicants undergo this process and assure that their rights are protected.